It’s common knowledge that raising kids is a wild, beautiful ride. Nerve-wracking, amusing, unpredictable, and uncomfortable: parenting is a literally and figuratively messy experience. Factor in the demands of full-time work, and it’s easy to comprehend why adding schoolwork to the mix can be a real challenge.
Yet, many parents find ways to juggle full-time studying and parenting. In fact, a report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that one in five college students is a parent. And 62% of them are single moms. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and its accompanying social distancing measures, many moms had to spend inside their homes with children and attend online classes. They found time to study and do full-time parenting. While balancing school and parenting isn’t easy, many successfully earn their degrees every year.
Being A First-Time Mom and Full-Time Student
As a first-time mom, it always seems like you have something to do and somewhere to be. In many instances, you probably have a tiny amount of time to dedicate to studying. Even as a mom, you must get the most out of your precious time to study because, after all, the college will make you successful and prosperous. Advanced qualifications keep you connected, improve your skills, and make you more attractive to prospective employers. With prosperity comes a wonderful life that you deserve. Good for you, mom! It takes a lot of courage and dedication to making this tough decision. It’s certainly not easy.
But the dollar question is how can one be a successful mom and a full-time student? To get a sense of it, we talked with successful people familiar with the balancing act of being a mom and a full-time student. They shared how they managed college coursework, family responsibilities, and unexpected curveballs the world threw their way. Here’s how you can succeed as a mom and a full-time student.
Have a Detailed Schedule
American author, entrepreneur, and motivational speaker, Jim Rohn said, “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” The most important thing is to work through all the fine details. Sit down, go through everything and consider all the angles of your goal. What career and professional outcomes are you aiming for? How many modules or units does your course contain? Consider everything that will make your life easier and develop an elaborate plan that balances your parenting and schooling life. With a detailed schedule, life’s hiccups, like a sick kid, become more manageable. Ensure you stick to your schedule so it becomes a routine. If you schedule to study from 9.00 a.m to 11 a.m on Saturdays, then do precisely that and specify what you plan to cover. As a mom-student, you don’t have the luxury of being lazy.
Build a Support Network
A support system is one of the most important resources that you need to juggle all your responsibilities as a mom and full-time student. It is crucial to ensure that your spouse, partner, employer, friends, and extended family are backing you 100%. Your employer can delegate some of your work commitments to your peers, allowing you to make time for studying and parenting. Ask your family and friends beforehand if they can be willing to handle more duties relating to the caring of the children and household. If they are unavailable or impossible, then that’s okay – use lateral thinking to work around the problem. Find small snippets of time to get some work in. While it is not always easy, it can be done with the right attitude and motivation.
All successful mothers we talked to recommended taking stock of your current support systems before enrolling in school. Having a clear picture of backup childcare options and their schedules is extremely vital when unexpected issues like illnesses or school lockdown happen due to a pandemic. Rebecca Green, a mother of two sons and a Business Analytics student, says, “My husband is like a backbone when it comes to getting a minute of peace from the kids, work, and school.” She also notes that her older sister is a huge role model since she was in a similar situation. Rebecca is a testament to how valuable a support system can be while juggling motherhood and studying.
Hire A Babysitter
Going to college means spending a lot of time away from home. If your support system is unavailable, hiring a babysitter is always an option. Arranging for a babysitter or a good daycare with hours that work with your schedule is valuable. Even if you have online classes, you’ll need someone to help monitor your kid as you attend the lectures or study. You can bring in a family member or friend who is willing to babysit during your schooling hours. If you have no willing volunteer, consider hiring a reliable person to live in with you or attend to your child during the daytime. This way, you will have someone to take care of your children and keep them occupied as you study.
Just remember, everybody needs help once in a while, even supermoms. Don’t be ashamed of motherhood to admit that you need help. Numerous first-time mom bogs, including Rookie Moms, Toronto New Mom Blog, and Me Before Mom, recommend mothers to seek help whenever possible to avoid the fatigue and burnout that comes with motherhood. Ensure your babysitter can work around your college schedule, and your kid will never be unsupervised.
Use Online Study Services
Online study aids and research paper writing services offer great help for single-parent students, and there are hundreds of others online. There are professional services that you can specifically ask, “write my research paper,” and they will provide professional custom writing services for any college or university level, be it Ph.D., master’s, or bachelor’s. Popular parenting bloggers recommend essay help services for moms with newborns attending college. Many successful single moms have sought help from such websites to get help with their research papers and assignments. They have professional writers who create highly customized and quality essays, ppts, reports, and literature reviews among others. All you need to do is provide your paper instructions, pay for the service, and save more time for yourself. Professional academic writing services come in handy when you feel tired (we all know motherhood is tiring and studying at the same time is exhausting), your son or daughter is sick and must attend to them, or you are too caught up in other work-related engagements.
Maximize Your Time
In a world with so many distractions, it is impossible to minimize outside ‘noise.’ You can switch off your TV, put the phone on silent mode, and focus on doing your work. Cassandra George-Sturges, a parent and author, says, “If you have a favorite TV show, watch it, but don’t idle in front of the TV.” This advice implies that you should not channel surf aimlessly. The same goes for social media platforms – minimize the time you spend online liking other people’s Instagram pictures or keeping up with trending stories. Do it but shrewdly. Plan time to relax and time for your parenting and studying hour by hour, and when it is time to get to work – sit down and don’t procrastinate.
Take Good Care of Yourself and Your Child(ren)
While caring for yourself and your children can seem counterintuitive given the time constraints, self-care is necessary to keep yourself functioning. Remember, self-care doesn’t have to be a three-day spa weekend. There are smaller things you can do for yourself to recharge. Dr. Tasha Holland-Kornegay, a licensed professional counselor at Our Treatment Center, works with many busy parents in school and recommends self-care to balancing parenting and schooling. Unwind as you mean it! Focus on things that make you feel confident, happy, and valuable.
Look for Competency-based Education Options
You can find flexible courses to minimize disruption to your daily life as much as possible. For example, you can choose to study online and do so from home. Besides, the flexible approach is an affordable way to earn your degree. Not only is it cheaper than on-campus studying, but also it enables you to spend more time with your family and loved ones. Ashley Honeycut, a mother of two, Finance student, and peer tutor at Rasmussen University, began her school and family balancing act by looking for flexible programs. Some programs enable students to determine the class times that work best for them. For example, you can select evening classes that are beneficial for students who:
- Are mothers and care for family members
- Work traditional shifts
- Feel more energetic at the end of the day
- Need time before classes to prepare and review study materials
There is no wrong option when it comes to choosing a schedule that works for you. In fact, when you create a routine, you’re more likely to succeed.
In college, organization is really the key to succeeding. With an organized schedule, you will be able to do more by checking each thing off the list. Besides, avoid procrastination and a messy area since it can make you go nuts and make assignments harder to accomplish and get done. Organization skills help you learn how to prioritize activities, set and achieve goals, and reduce stress. As a mommy, it will be easier to collaborate with others and increase your efficiency and productivity.
Find A Study Buddy
Seek out other parents who are also juggling parenting and studying. If you’re enrolled in online and distance classes, utilize the forums to find other studying and working parents in the same area. Your children can play together as you study, or you can take turns watching over children as you adjust to the demands of work and school. Either way, it is a win-win situation. You and your kids will make new friends, and you can free up more time to work. You can also connect with your community. Many libraries and community groups run programs for single parents, divorced persons, pregnant ladies, and young parents, among others, to meet up for various tasks. Take advantage of what’s accessible and local.
Take Things One Step at A Time
The demands of your courses, family, and job might seem overwhelming but you are not alone! Remember that every day brings you are one step close to your personal goal and every completed assignment, project, or responsibility is a small, but very real victory. Take note that every day is another chance to make the best out of the only life that you have. Whatever you do is an effort towards giving your children what they deserve. Whether you are a young mom or at your midlife (a central period of one’s life), ensure you remember to focus on what you want for your own future. You truly deserve it.
You may be thinking, “Okay, I have this outline and list of how to succeed as a mom and full-time student. What am I supposed to do to implement these points?” Well, people are organized in different ways What works for your friends or classmates may not work for you. However, you may choose to do all the steps or some of them as long as it works for you and you can balance between studying and parenting.
If there is a will, surely there is a way. Good luck to you, mom!